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The World Liberal Opportunists Made

Posted on Oct 25, 2010
AP / Dario Lopez-Mills

Mexican protesters wear Obama masks during the president’s 2009 visit to Mexico. Disenchantment with the hopebringer is not limited to these shores.

By Chris Hedges

The lunatic fringe of the Republican Party, which looks set to make sweeping gains in the midterm elections, is the direct result of a collapse of liberalism. It is the product of bankrupt liberal institutions, including the press, the church, universities, labor unions, the arts and the Democratic Party. The legitimate rage being expressed by disenfranchised workers toward the college-educated liberal elite, who abetted or did nothing to halt the corporate assault on the poor and the working class of the last 30 years, is not misplaced. The liberal class is guilty. The liberal class, which continues to speak in the prim and obsolete language of policies and issues, refused to act. It failed to defend traditional liberal values during the long night of corporate assault in exchange for its position of privilege and comfort in the corporate state. The virulent right-wing backlash we now experience is an expression of the liberal class’ flagrant betrayal of the citizenry. 

The liberal class, which once made piecemeal and incremental reform possible, functioned traditionally as a safety valve. During the Great Depression, with the collapse of capitalism, it made possible the New Deal. During the turmoil of the 1960s, it provided legitimate channels within the system to express the discontent of African-Americans and the anti-war movement. But the liberal class, in our age of neo-feudalism, is now powerless. It offers nothing but empty rhetoric. It refuses to concede that power has been wrested so efficiently from the hands of citizens by corporations that the Constitution and its guarantees of personal liberty are irrelevant. It does not act to mitigate the suffering of tens of millions of Americans who now make up a growing and desperate permanent underclass. And the disparity between the rhetoric of liberal values and the rapacious system of inverted totalitarianism the liberal class serves makes liberal elites, including Barack Obama, a legitimate source of public ridicule. The liberal class, whether in universities, the press or the Democratic Party, insists on clinging to its privileges and comforts even if this forces it to serve as an apologist for the expanding cruelty and exploitation carried out by the corporate state.

Populations will endure repression from tyrants as long as these rulers continue to effectively manage and wield power. But human history has amply demonstrated that once those in positions of power become redundant and impotent, yet retain the trappings and privileges of power, they are swiftly and brutally discarded. Tocqueville observed that the French, on the eve of their revolution, hated the aristocrats about to lose their power far more than they had ever hated them before. The increased hatred directed at the aristocratic class occurred because as the aristocracy lost real power there was no decline in their fortunes. As long as the liberal class had even limited influence, whether through the press or the legislative process, liberals were tolerated and even respected. But once the liberal class lost all influence it became a class of parasites. The liberal class, like the déclassé French aristocracy, has no real function within the power elite. And the rising right-wing populists, correctly, ask why liberals should be tolerated when their rhetoric bears no relation to reality and their presence has no influence on power. 

The death of the liberal class, however, is catastrophic for our democracy. It means there is no longer any check to a corporate apparatus designed to further enrich the power elite. It means we cannot halt the plundering of the nation by Wall Street speculators and corporations. An ineffectual liberal class, in short, means there is no hope, however remote, of a correction or a reversal through the political system and electoral politics. The liberals’ disintegration ensures that the frustration and anger among the working and the middle class will find expression in a rejection of traditional liberal institutions and the civilities of a liberal democracy. The very forces that co-opted the liberal class and are responsible for the impoverishment of the state will, ironically, reap benefits from the collapse. These corporate manipulators are busy channeling rage away from the corporate and military forces hollowing out the nation from the inside and are turning that anger toward the weak remnants of liberalism. It does not help our cause that liberals indeed turned their backs on the working and middle class.

The corporate state has failed to grasp the vital role the liberal class traditionally plays in sustaining a stable power system. The corporate state, by emasculating the liberal class, has opted for a closed system of polarization, gridlock and political theater in the name of governance. It has ensured a further destruction of state institutions so that government becomes even more ineffectual and despised. The collapse of the constitutional state, presaged by the death of the liberal class, has created a power vacuum that a new class of speculators, war profiteers, gangsters and killers, historically led by charismatic demagogues, will enthusiastically fill. It opens the door to overtly authoritarian and fascist movements. These movements rise to prominence by ridiculing and taunting the liberal class for its weakness, hypocrisy and uselessness. The promises of these proto-fascist movements are fantastic and unrealistic, but their critiques of the liberal class are grounded in truth. 


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By trierarch, October 26, 2010 at 12:23 am Link to this comment

Great Article Chris!

I agree the “Liberal Class” is officially dead. We have been taught mis-truths since our youth about democracy, capitalism, etc. In some states, children of our generation were taught complete lies about our system of government.

Now these children have become adults and are now living in frustration regarding what is happening to them and their families now. They don’t understand why a country which was supposed to protect it’s citizens have now left them out in the cold.

When intelligent, educated and well informed people of conscience like Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn and others are excluded from mainstream American thought the wolf is not only scratching at your door, but inside your home ready to rob and ravage you.

I believe America morphed into two separate governments when Reagan became President. The government of people who believed Reagan’s lies, believed the innocent dreams and fairy tales taught to them in school during their youth. This America is now upset and mad at what’s happening to them. Now they are looking to blame somebody else for their gullibility, tea anyone?

Then theres the government of people who have known for some time criminals have been in charge that kill, steal, incarcerate, go to war and will eventually destroy themselves. These Americans know “We The People” will survive in the end through the love and care we have for one another including caring for our not so smart brothers and sisters.

The love of Money has only been the God to our spiritually starved in America.

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By Not One More!, October 26, 2010 at 12:11 am Link to this comment

Don’t Trust the Government

When I say ‘don’t trust the government’ I mean don’t trust the elected officials to are owned by the corporate elite. When the teaparty says it, they are talking about those bureaucrats that are ‘needlessly’ regulating companies to ensure the safety of our food supply, water, air, children’s toys etc.

After all, that is cutting into corporate profit. - listen to the song Don’t Trust the Government.

Vote third party.

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By mdgr, October 25, 2010 at 11:51 pm Link to this comment

He puts you to sleep????

I agree with Arouete, however, though I am not sure these are trolls who are lurking in the shadows.

It’s more likely just a somewhat spooky manifestation of the bell-shaped curve.

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By Queenie, October 25, 2010 at 11:31 pm Link to this comment

When Clinton changed “welfare as we know it” the liberals deserted the poor. In fact, poverty and class warfare as topics were verboten. Not politically correct.

Ahem. Mea Culpa. I was wrong. I read Mr. Hedges’ line about Chomsky wrong. I read and re-read it and finally got it. Duh.

But he still puts me to sleep. Too damned reasonable. I want someone whose hair is on fire and willing to suggest taking civil disobedience to a new level. Peaceniks and pacifists are not going to win anything against the thugs who may take over our country. We may have to fight another civil war. The corporatists are destroying our environment and will stop at nothing for their own benefit. Nothing.

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By gerard, October 25, 2010 at 11:23 pm Link to this comment

Let’s say we agreed for the moment that campagn finance reform was the most important issue to unite around, and perhaps the most likely to gain traction.

Specifically what methods could be used to force it onto the national agenda of, let’s say, the Democratic Party—or bring it up as a Third Party Initiaive of immediate importance?

How could it be promoted from the grassroots up?  From the national party level down? By whom? How?What could give it traction among the largest number of voters?  What media could be depended upon to introduce it and give it fair play?

Step one, Step Two etc.  Which Senators, Reps, Cabinet members could be counted upon to promote it, if any? What broad mainstream orgs would promote? (Example League of Women Voters)

Publicity outlets?  Campaign ideas?  How to best solicit local grassroots participation? 

Who would fight it?  How to neutralize their effect?
Where could the majority of support donantions come from?
What political/religious/social organizations would support it, why, and in what ways?

Who would be first to sign onto it?  Who would tag along after it got popular? 

What would be the best kind of publicity for it?
Could it serve as a unifying effort, including advocates from various “sides” that have an interest in promotiong the national political health?

Dream up a campaign.  It just might work. Lots of people are aware of the injustice and imbalance of the present rulings.  Could it be floated as honestly nonpartisan?

Ten simple reasons why it is needed?

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By Arouete, October 25, 2010 at 11:17 pm Link to this comment

Wow! Did this ever bring out the trolls!

Bravo to Chris Hedges! He remains the most powerful voice in the wilderness and the most eloquent defender of human decency. His mind cuts through bull*hit like a knife through soft butter. The only thing I consistently dislike about this writing is that I can seldom find a fallacy. He is usually right and that *isses me of—not because I don’t agree but because I wish he were wrong. He just gets it all too frighteningly right,

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By mdgr, October 25, 2010 at 11:00 pm Link to this comment

By kerryrose:

>For all of you who are INCORRECTLY reading what Hedges wrote about Chomsky READ IT AGAIN:

>Hedges is refering to the ineffectual Liberals whom he despises, and Chomsky is rightly calling the out for their weakness.


Indeed. I said the same thing except I wasn’t nearly as nice as you. I said that most people are into instant gratifications and simply cannot read these days.

Moreover, they see the word “liberal” and they immediately think of word “progressive.” Since they define themselves as progressive, they conclude that Hedges must despise progressives as well. It’s apples=oranges=kumquats, and never mind the finer points of difference.

Rather than digesting the import of his article, they then endeavor to do a narcissistic and intellectual tap dance designed to show how brilliant they are (“kumquats are not pears,” they solemnly state) and how terrible wrong Hedges is.

I agree that it’s a very sad state of affairs, but in the end, perhaps it helps underscore Hedges’ underlying point.

When all else fails, the liberal class typically resorts to smoke and mirrors, deploying all the strategies of intellectual dishonesty and peacock-laden homilies.

As you well-know, Mr. Hedges admires people like Chomsky. What he doesn’t like is people who have no depth and intellectual j/o sessions.

He is radically progressive and he has absolute contempt for the collaborative liberal class whom in many other posts I have likened to Vichy. We call the Democrats and their primary sales pitch these days is to talk about the “lesser of two evils.”

If you believe it, I have a bridge in Brooklyn I’d very much like to sell you.

I’d gladly donate all the proceeds to Chris Hedges, whom I also very much admire.

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By jonathonk99, October 25, 2010 at 10:28 pm Link to this comment

Actually, in addendum to last post regarding “What helps keep the spirit thrive”:

I sincerely believe that keeping money out of politics will be a major major
pinnacle in keeping the spirit of democracy thriving.  Campaign finance reform
should be a major major topic in the media and in the political debates ‘far as i’m
concerned.  It’s like a clog in the artery of democracy and it needs to be zapped
out so that the peoples’ voice can be heard… the Republic restored… the debate
even restored!  In fact, politically right now, there is no debate.  There is no debate
between left & right on the key issues because the consensus between the 2
parties are essentially business oriented.  But i’d be surprised if reform would be
on the agenda.

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By PhreedomPhan, October 25, 2010 at 10:03 pm Link to this comment

A number of posters have commented on liberals and conservatives which is natural given the topic of the article.  I had some experience during my active days that led me to conclude that, like Republican vs. Democrat liberal vs. conservative is just a version of the Itchy and Scratchy Show.  They are meaningless.

Back in the 60’s and 70’s two organizations existed in Philadelphia, and it’s my understanding they existed in every major city in the US.  Each had a chairman who traveled from city to city within their assigned areas to hold their monthly meetings. One was the Alpha Group and the other the Omega Group. The leaders and paid activists of the “left” reported their monthly activities to the Alpha Group, their counterparts on the “right” did likewise at the meetings of the Omega. The organizations appeared to be identical in form and function.

Because of the identity of form and function and the biblical connotations of the Alpha and Omega - the beginning and the end of all and encompassing everything in between, we concluded this was the wealthy at the top telling us they control everything from left to right and laughing at us because we haven’t the sense to realize it?

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By jonathonk99, October 25, 2010 at 9:36 pm Link to this comment

What helps keep the spirit thrive?  Exactly as said:  “equality, justice, and
freedom”!  But people have different opinions of what these things mean.  And in
my opinion these opinions need to be corrected somehow.  But how?

Because: a lot of people are misinformed and manipulated.  Therefore, EQUALITY
to ‘some’ Americans means abolishing social welfare instead of corporate welfare. 
Therefore, JUSTICE to ‘some’ Americans means rewarding corporations and
punishing the victims.  Therefore, FREEDOM to some Americans means freedom
from being taxed for social objectives because that is a crime and a sin, but
taxation for war is tolerable. 

Let’s not try to work beyond “equality, justice, and freedom”!! 
Let’s work from there.

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By joell, October 25, 2010 at 9:29 pm Link to this comment

excellent article! i always viewed Ralph Nader as the last of “The Untouchables.” Chris Hedges also belongs on that list.

also, a special thanks to truthdig for allowing an open discussion of issues;  a significant number of these comments would be censored and posters banned on many of the other “progressive” & “liberal”  web sites.

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By gerard, October 25, 2010 at 8:52 pm Link to this comment

genia:  Agreed!  Suggestions?
What helps the spirit thrive?
What kills it?

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By genia, October 25, 2010 at 8:36 pm Link to this comment

re “liberals are overwhelmed”- it seems like a policy to thwart change- the bad
guys use the complexity as a smokescreen.

until we can band together under a simple agreement-
and it will have to be more clearly defined than “equality, justice and freedom”
AND based on a paradigm that so obviously cannot exist without these

long story short- the imbalance is weighted toward the material at the expense of
the spirit…. the former is worse than useless without the latter.

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By doublestandards/glasshouses, October 25, 2010 at 8:34 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If you want to see just how craven the liberals were during the 90’s and into the new century, read CAPITOL OFFENSE, How Washington’s Wise Men Turned America’s Future Over To Wall Street, by Michael Hirsh, 2010.
Hirsh tells how Robert Rubin and Alan Greenspan led Clinton around by the nose making him think he was actually making decisions while they were in fact making him offers he couldn’t refuse.  It would be comical if it hadn’t been so tragic for the nation.
Greenspan was one of the first people Clinton met with after his election victory.  Greenspan believed, probably correctly, that his refusal to lower interest rates cost George H W Bush the election in 1992, “and he wanted Clinton to know it” according to Hirsh.  They let Clinton know who was boss from day one.  No doubt they have Obama on a leash also.
The book also has a great chapter on Joseph Stiglitz the Nobel laureate who was right very early on as to where the economy was headed but who was marginalized and shut out of decision making in his post on Clinton’s board of economic advisers.
Hirsh concludes that there isn’t going to be any reform of Wall Street.  The Wall Street reform passed by congress is about as meaningful as their health care reform.  They will run the economy and they will remain out of control by the government.

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By gerard, October 25, 2010 at 8:23 pm Link to this comment

Nader has established a couple dozen progressive organizations, most of which are small but up and running.
Jim Hightower has people working on common ideas all the time.
Liberal churches are busy with various progressive projects all the time.
Environmental groups are active but lacking enough people.  The same for racial justice groups, constantly under attack.
Liberal Jews are working hard and taking significant risks to help Palestinians as much as they can.
The Commons Movement is alive. Cooperatives are working here and t here.
Anti-recruiting, anti-war and alternatives to violence groups are working in neighborhoods, schools and prisons.
Excuse me for the ones I’ve missed just here in this country.
The fact that there are not enough of them is not their fault. They’ve been there all along, for years, and they are still there. Liberals are worth saving. They are just overwhelmed.

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By the worm, October 25, 2010 at 8:06 pm Link to this comment

To JDmysticDJ:

A leader sometimes leads, sometimes just gets in front of the parade.

A President represents the people. Hopefully, a President promotes policies
that are in the interests of the people.

Just sixteen short months ago, in June 2009, a New York Times/CBS poll found

”  72% of Americans ‘supported a government-administered insurance plan—
something like Medicare for those under 65—that would compete for
customers with private insurers.’  “

A leader who was interested in policies that promote the interests of the
American people, a leader who had enough sense to get out in front of the
parade that had already formed, a President who represented the people would
have achieved something his supporters could have defended.

Such is not the case.

President Obama did not lead; President Obama assumed the insurance
industry would have its way (Tom Daschle and others were the ones who the
President represented, not the people); President Obama placed those of us
who voted for “Change We Could Believe In” having to ‘support’ what is basically
Bob Dole’s health reform of the 1980s - Im sorry that just perpetuates the lie,

Given what 72% of the people wanted, the non-reform of health care is

I would love to find something to defend about the Democrats’ non-reform of
health care, but Im afraid it’s simply not defensible. It could have been, if the
President had wanted to lead, he could have and he didnt.

For your information I supported Obama and numerous Democratic candidates
around the country in 2008 - giving both money and time. In 2010, I will vote
against the Republicans. But there are very very few reasons to vote the

The American people are the worse for Health Care non-Reform. The
Democratic Party is worse for it, as well.

You wrote:

Single payer had absolutely no chance of becoming law. It took months, and
months, of political wrangling, to get the inadequate Bill passed in the Senate.
Every single Republican opposed real Health Care reform, and the Health Care
Insurance Companies spent 100’s of millions of dollars opposing reform.

People who claim to want a better Health Care system for Americans, and then
attack very real Health Care improvements, are using demagoguery to attack
Obama and the Democrats, which seems to indicate they are more concerned
with disparaging Obama and the Democrats than they are with improving
Health Care for Americans. Lives will be saved because of the Bill, and already
have been saved because of the Bill. Contrast that with the Republican
Governor of Arizona, and her Republican cohorts in the Arizona Legislature,
who have assumed the authority of a death panel, by removing funding for
critical life threatening medical procedures, and have removed tens of
thousands of children from Health Care coverage.

And so.

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By Inherit The Wind, October 25, 2010 at 7:54 pm Link to this comment

Folks, poeple still believe in the American Dream.  Diamond does.


That’s one of the few things I actually like and respect about Diamond.

About once a month or so, Chris Hedges re-writes yet again the same damn article about how Liberalism is futile, how Liberalism is no damn different than Conservatism, and how the only thing that will work is a Marxist revolution, despite the fact that none of THOSE worked, either.  And all the left-wing cannibals come out to cheer him one.  Why do I call them “cannibals”?

Well, read about JDMystic’s pal “Iddy Savant”—he explains it perfectly.

JD: You are wasting your time using trivialities like facts and logic.  We have here a movement of faith just like a religious movement—and it’s gonna help the OTHER faith, the one that believes the Teaparty bullshit, impose their American Taliban on all of us.

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By S Nagourney, October 25, 2010 at 7:50 pm Link to this comment

The country was founded on Liberal principles and
action to the Liberal causes :

We the People of the United States, in Order to FORM
a more perfect Union, ESTABLISH Justice, INSURE
domestic Tranquility, PROVIDE for the common defense,PROMOTE the general Welfare, and SECURE the
Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity,
do ordain and establish this Constitution for the
United States of America.

Liberals have fallen prey to the corporate
reorientation toward total consumerism/total
materialism -  they want the “cool” good life it can
provide.  Live in Napa, Martha’s Vineyard, do their
yoga.  they have turned a blind eye to have this life
of comfort.

We need to continue to FORM a more perfect union. 
But who will engage it such action. The Conservatives
don’t want this march forward. The Liberals just want
to live their good life. And to such an extent that
today they are disconnected from the economy that has
generated such deep unemployment. They are not the

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By omygodnotagain, October 25, 2010 at 7:25 pm Link to this comment

Jennifer B, I think the point you make about labels is important, made more confusing by what were their historical antecedents. By definition a Liberal is someone who values freedom even if it means justice has to take second place. Thus Liberals should be free traders. Conservatives used to mean maintaining tradition. So now we have a situation where Democrats (Liberals) because they are supported by Unions are the ones least in favor of free trade except for the old line conservatives like Pat Buchanan whp oppose them too. Meanwhile neo-conservatives are all for free trade, and social conservatives are too.  Very confusing, labels are meaningless

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By jonathonk99, October 25, 2010 at 7:24 pm Link to this comment

gerard:  “I don’t see that liberal causes ever had much acceptance with run-of-
the-mill middle class Americans—not from my experience.”

I just wanted to make a comment on that:

Liberal causes started out in the Constitution as freedom of religion, freedom
of speech, etc.  But the liberal ideal was far from perfect.  We lived, at that
time, in a country where blacks were considered inferior, and “We The People”
mostly meant land-owning white men.  And at that time that was pretty much
the “run-of-the-mill middle class American” consensus—that blacks should
be used as slaves. 

Soon enough there emerged a new way of thinking.  Those liberal thinkers who
called themselves abolitionists and considered slavery a national sin.  This type
of radical thinking was against the American grain at the time—against the
“run-of-the-mill American” consensus.  But slowly but surely became the
common New American consensus (except for say the Klu Klux Klan, Nazis,
and skin-heads)

My point being there is no fine line between the run-of-the-mill and the
liberal.  It is a constant evolution towards a more civilized society and
yesterdays liberal is today’s “run-of-the-mill American”.  It is up to the Liberals
to hold the torch and to lead the way to the true ideals our country was made

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By genia, October 25, 2010 at 7:08 pm Link to this comment

By discouraging voting, Mr Hedges gives power to those he (rightly) castigates.
Nothing positive happens instantly.

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By genia, October 25, 2010 at 7:06 pm Link to this comment

The midterm elections are just a few days away. Do we really want to give up all
hope in the electoral process?
As alway, most of Mr Hedges comments are right on- HOWEVER, I think it is
REALLY counterproductive to discourage voting as a viable action, especially now.
No positive change happens instantly.
Even “conservative” commentators are acknowledging the corruptions of the
corporate state now….......

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By el_crunko, October 25, 2010 at 7:03 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

hedges isn’t dissing noam chomsky. please re-read the

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By gerard, October 25, 2010 at 6:53 pm Link to this comment

Apologies all round!  On second reading I see that paragraph as easy to misunderstand.  Mdgr has spent a lot of time recently, calling me out on my misunderstanding and I should be more careful.  If David Byron’s “steam valve” metaphor transmits Hedges’ meaning more clearly, I understand that point. Yet I don’t agree that Chomsky in any way inhibited liberals from acting politically or destroyed their “fervor” if any.
  To go all the way back to the Haymarket “riots”, Eugene Debs and others (and the Wobblies, and repeated union struggles in mining and steel) I don’t see that liberal causes ever had much acceptance with run-of-the-mill middle class Americans—not from my experience. If the implication is that Chomsky helped destroy liberal effectiveness and caused them to be marginalized and shut out of national debate etc., that had occurred before Chomsky was born.  Only during a brief period under Roosevelt was it even half-heartedly accepted except that many people were desperate and benefited from it accordingly. Do I still not “get it”?
  To my knowledge, until recently once,on Democracy Now, Chomsky has refrained from suggesting any specific actions—as does Hedges—but I don’t see that as undermining liberalism, though I have criticized both Chomsky and Hedges on that point.
  Anyway, it is obvious that liberalism (or whatever) is and will be what we make it, what we do and how we do it—or not. Understanding causes is one thing, but I still think blaming others is a waste of time.

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By vicente carranza, October 25, 2010 at 6:50 pm Link to this comment

After 41 years as a full time activist 24/7 it never fails.  Diamond comments, as simple and as short as they were, do a lot of damage. He has the freedom and right to do and say what ever he wants but we will never get out of the hole we are in because of him and the people who believe like he does.  This article brought lots of wonderful and beautiful comments from lots of people. Not everyone agreed with each other.  Most of them were well thought out and were said very articulate. All the comments have tons of documentation behind them so we know they are true.  Yet Diamond believe what he said.  Now why is this so dangerous.  Because 90% of the people that should be reading everything that was said do not because they are scare and are looking out for their own interest only.  People like Diamond that has nothing behind what he said give the people who are scare a way out and/or an excuse not to read or get involve. Self preservation is a great motivator in not getting involve and no one to hear that the United States is at the end of the way we know it and what it could have been. Folks, poeple still believe in the American Dream.  Diamond does.

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By sallysense, October 25, 2010 at 6:47 pm Link to this comment

(gee… how chris hedges’ article brings this to mind when it comes to some)...

if your biggest reason coming here is mainly feeding ego trips…
and your knowledge base still needs to bite another hand that feeds its face…
while you line up with a plate you hold so firmly in your brain-sized grip…
then where is it that ya placed the common dreams that help this human race?...

did ya let ‘em fall to grab the napkin cloth you store for ways and means?...
or drop them hot beneath a pot of gravy trained intelligence…
that leaves a lump run down a chin to stumble over someone seen…
as far too dumb or poor or sick for common dreams of yours to sense…

what is it that those taste buds crave to wave their tongue toward high iq’s?...
and snub the nose at hungry mouths who wait each day in floods or drought…
while full degrees get ready to debate new terms on menu views…
missing common dreams that wisdom ordered up for take-out…

how your countenance stirs growls around the head chefs of a government…
who use your same slick gimmicks pitting wits against the status quo…
yet still you fail to see your own no matter where you smell your scent…
it must belong to someone else with common dreams too bland to know…

you pat each other on the back like chimney stacks that stoke the ego…
then whet perception’s appetite by passing down your judgment call…
but all the time you’re so engrossed you never see your thoughts up close…
to notice which ingredient squeezes common dreams to pulp…

do your analyzing book ends cover things behind a center stage…
which never looks beyond your own reflection for an audience?...
watching as you chomp on foam that blows a selfish mental gauge…
then spitting it for common dreams to clean at their expense…

will your cherished mind soon realize talk won’t work well without action?...
nor rest upon those laurels conning notions sown in know-it-all ground…
where roots and stalks grow long and tall but fruit itself is lacking…
as it mostly just shows common dreams how smart a thought can sound…

will you lend a hand to help a land of people help to fix themselves?...
or are your motives busy primping i and me and mine…
can your interests open simple doors for more than just a spoiled self…
and give some common dreams the chance to stand first in that line!...

(things need to change to get better… lotsa stuff to do!... keep telling lawmakers to wake up their conscience!... to care about the basics!... and stop misleading!... and end all the war!... and don’t waste anymore!...

and here’s one of many links to do that and get congressional info etc too)...

and other things to do!... (if one can comment here then one can do things elsewhere too!)...

the best of wishes’n'ways’n'todays to all!... smile

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By JDmysticDJ, October 25, 2010 at 6:42 pm Link to this comment

I had a long talk with my friend Iddy Savant the other day. Iddy lives at the bus stop near my home 24/7. Iddy’s hygiene isn’t the best, and he is, frankly, a little off, mentally speaking. Most people find him to be annoying, frightening, or too weird to pay attention to; most ignore, insult, or threaten him, but I enjoy listening to his political perspectives and preachments.

The other day he told me of his most recent bizarre experiences, I’ll try to relate to you what he told me.

Iddy said, “The other day I come across some dead German commonests, so I figgered here’s my chance to ask em a few questions, so I says to em, ‘How come ya’ll didn’t kill Hitler? Hell, things’d worked out a lot better if you had,’ I said. This is what they tol’ me, ‘We dint’ think anyone would take Hitler, that little dweeb, and his Brown Shirts serious. We figgered it was the liberals and socialists that was standing in our way, and stopping us from meetin’ our goals. We was trying to show everybody that it was the liberals and socialists that was screwing everything up, and that’s what Hitler was saying, so, even though we knew Hitler hated us, we didn’t see that little punk as being our worst enemy. ‘It’s the liberals and socialists stupid,’ is what we used to say.”

Iddy continued: “So that started me to thinking. So I dicides to round up a bunch of dead German Trade Union Guys, and see what they had to say. So I asked em, ‘How come ya’ll dint’ join up with the commonests to fight Hitler, an’ this is what they tol’ me.’ ‘Hell, nobody in Germany liked the commonests, we all figgered they’s a bunch of Russian Bolshevikis, we had a few amongst us and they was a real pain in the butt, let me tell you, Karl Marx this, and Lenin that, nobody liked em,’ and we had to put a muzzle on em’ so they wouldn’t turn evrybody ‘gainst us.’

Iddy went on, “So now I’m gettin’ curiouser and curiouser, so I decides to talk to some dead German Jews. They’s a whole bunch of em’ so I’s able to put together a bunch in no time. And I asks em, “How come you dint’ join up with the commonests, the trade union guys, the liberals, and the socialists to fight Hitler? An they says to me, Some of us were commonests, some of us were trade union guys, some of us were socialists, and some of us were librals, but we’s mostly worryin’ about our own stuff, and anyway we wasn’t real poplar in Germany anyhow, we wasn’t much for joining other stuff, and whatnot.’”

Iddy seemed perplexed. He went on, “Then I come across this other dead German guy, an aks him the same, an he says to me, ‘Hell, by the time I figgered out what was goin’ on they wasn’t anybody left to join up with.’”

Iddy said to me, “I jes can’t figger it. Why dint’ these folks hook up together and fight against Hitler? The only thing I can figger is they was too busy with they own stuff, an didn’t see what was goin down, or how its gonna’ fect em.”

Yeah, Iddy’s kind of whack, but I can’t help but think he’s more logical in his critique than some elitist intellectuals are.

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By jonathonk99, October 25, 2010 at 6:31 pm Link to this comment

Nice history lesson in the demise of liberalism.  We live in an utterly apathetic
and apolitical culture that worships Mammon.  So what else is new?  Liberals
have been using these same arguments since before the industrial revolution
of the nineteenth century in a kind of pre-Orwellian prophecy of our modern

Trancendentalism, Progressivism, Liberalism…All were attempts to shake
people from their self-induced slumber as more and more of society falls
corrupt and perverted in the struggle between mass-culture and the righteous
liberalism.  Chris makes the observation that what has endured from that long
and battered struggle for liberal freedom has finally come to it’s end, has fallen
on it’s last leg, and gasped it’s last breath. 

Where is the organized activism from the Left?  Whatever happened to the New
Left of the 50’s?  Those Baby Boomers all sold-out I guess, had kids, went to
college, and became consumers, and their kids became consumers, and
everybody just forgot about the blood shed, the backs broken, tuned out, and
had a big orgy!

Yes, the elite plays a very tricky game.  Squeezing the working class for every
last drop of gold while they can, while maintaining the fragile balance of
keeping the people placated.  The veil is thick and difficult to pierce.  And when
one does happen to pierce the veil they are so overwhelmed by the terrible
truth that they hurry back to the safety of their interactive toys, the pursuit of
happiness.  Well what about the pursuit of freedom, of virtue?  What about the
pursuit of truth and justice? 

I say to hell with money and happiness!  I know this is easier said than done but
these are all merely short-term illusions fabricated by the elite to distract the
masses from political upheaval, and they are slowly eroding in the face of
financial catastrophe.  When the very carrot the elite uses to keep the mob
distracted runs out of string, then what will they use to keep us away from the
truth?  Violence and fear of violence.  In other words, a state of perpetual war
where people work to fight.

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By diamond, October 25, 2010 at 6:08 pm Link to this comment

The people who run Truthdig can take a bow. They have run an unrelenting campaign against Obama and the Democrats ever since he got elected. Either these people are incredibly dumb or they are fake progressives who are really Libertarians, not Liberals.

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By johnny, October 25, 2010 at 6:06 pm Link to this comment

Chris, you’re confusing Clinton and other bourgeouis and petit bourgeouis corporatist Democrats with liberals. 

Corporations are authoritarian dictatorships made for wealth and power concentration.  Liberals are for liberty and democracy, just the opposite.  Real liberals cannot be corporatists as that would be oxymoronic.

“The real enemy of the liberal class has never been Glenn Beck, but Noam Chomsky.”

False.  The real enemy of the liberal class is people who assume all Democrats are liberals.

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By Skip Mendler, October 25, 2010 at 5:58 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

In WAR IS A FORCE THAT GIVES US MEANING, Chris wrote forcefully about the
addictive nature of war.  It occurs to me that perhaps he is still addicted. This is
not to say that his critique is invalid; I think he’s right on.  I just suspect that at
some level, maybe even unconsciously, he may still believe in the redemptive
power of violence, and looks forward to a violent revolution to set things right.

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By Bethel, October 25, 2010 at 5:37 pm Link to this comment

Excuse me Mr. Hedges, for the sake of balance and nuance, let’s be clear, at best, liberals are an accessory after the fact of unabashed Ayn Rand laissez-faire policies extant and empowered for the past 40 years. In fact, the impoverishment of the American middle class is the price paid for the southern strategy backlash to civil rights afforded to minorities in the sixties.Hence the mis-directed ghoulish images better directed at their social and economic betters. It is a continuation of their self- cannibalism, their inability to support their own self-interests, distracted by race and the Right wing.

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By kerryrose, October 25, 2010 at 5:27 pm Link to this comment

For all of you who are INCORRECTLY reading what Hedges wrote about Chomsky READ IT AGAIN:

‘The liberal class was permitted a place within a capitalist democracy because it also vigorously discredited radicals within American society who openly defied the excesses of corporate capitalism and who denounced a political system run by and on behalf of corporations. The real enemy of the liberal class has never been Glenn Beck, but Noam Chomsky.’

Hedges is refering to the ineffectual Liberals whom he despises, and Chomsky is rightly calling the out for their weakness.


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By johnny, October 25, 2010 at 5:24 pm Link to this comment

“The liberal class is guilty. The liberal class, which continues to speak in the prim and obsolete language of policies and issues, refused to act.”

We acted, but not many listened because we were shut out by the corporate conservative MSM. 

In constantly attacking liberals, Chris Hedges has inadvertenly done liberals much harm, or sold out to the liberal demonizing conservatives.  I doubt it is the latter, but does he think that becoming left wing conservatives, Stalinists or violent left-wing radicals we can change things?  It might make him feel good, but trading a new boss for another is not my idea of liberty.  I think this is a better way:

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By jjohnjj, October 25, 2010 at 5:22 pm Link to this comment

Hey Truthdig… why publish this nine days before important mid-term elections? Are we trying to discourage Democrats from voting again?

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By JenniferBedingfield, October 25, 2010 at 4:57 pm Link to this comment

vicente carranza, thank you for your kind reply. I have always advocated that people need to vote with their hearts and minds and stop falling for seduction by the media and party spin. That alone would make it far more difficult for “offices” to choose people. The country is already self-destructing as it is because pols choose to side with the wrong side. The goal should be to try to wake up the majority from their conditioned thinking on many issues especially voting so that we may make it to 70% on our side without the need for force. Yes, it can be frustrating and can put a lot of us in tears but we should try not to give up on it. I don’t think that it is impossible to go against what the “office” tells me to do but I understand that the consequences can put a lot of people in fear. People have told me to consider running for an office in the past but I think that I would end up being treated as a stray cat for handling issues without the politics as a punishment for not conforming to the corrupt standards. I believe that corrupt is less rampant on the local levels compared to state levels which is less rampant compared to federal levels so I would not give up trying to fight it out on the lower levels first so that maybe the upper levels might improve from all that hard work on the lower levels. I blame lower turnout on the local and state levels for some of this mess we are in.

P.S.: Love you as well and my heart goes out to Mexico. smile

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By Caro, October 25, 2010 at 4:49 pm Link to this comment

Barack Obama’s timidity is Bill Clinton’s fault?

That’s a hell of a stretch, Chris.

Carolyn Kay

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By erik:, October 25, 2010 at 4:37 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Sorry, I was directing that at queenie.

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By DavidByron, October 25, 2010 at 4:34 pm Link to this comment

I think someone once said that the difference between a porn star and an exotic model (female) was that if they have ever been photographed with a penis in their mouth then they are a porn star.

It seems like a similar pithy definition of the difference between liberal and left is required, not so much for self-professed liberals because anyone wet enough to call themselves a liberal certainly is not left, but for all the so-called progressives out there.

Having been thrown off hundreds of Progressive boards in my time, for being too left, I have a pretty good sense of how they would differentiate themselves, and what the consider too left to allow to post.

There are to be sure certain specific things like if you say America is the bad guy in the wars, or if you say actually the “troops” don’t deserve our support because they are shooting innocent people, that will get you kicked off.  It certainly used to be that if you criticised Israel that was enough all by itself.  No longer, although if you refuse to pretend that the Palestinian victims are 50% at fault that will likely do it.

Also if you don’t go along with the feminist-imperialist fantasy but instead insist on gender equality for both genders and not just women, or too loudly state that gender is an insignificant issue compared to class, that will do it.

It used to be I think you could say that liberals would refuse to recognise that capitalism is a failed system, but these days its become so obvious that many liberals would concede that point on environmental grounds, (not on grounds of equality and class warfare).

The simplest test would be support for socialism and communism.  If those are dirty words then you’re a liberal (ie right winger who pretends they aren’t).  Indeed it was the attack on socialism and communism which I would suggest led to things being as they are.

Still perhaps others have a better suggested way to differentiate?

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By Erikk, October 25, 2010 at 4:32 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Am I missing something here? Hasn’t Chomsky always
been fighting for the liberal class?

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By elisalouisa, October 25, 2010 at 4:27 pm Link to this comment

“We” “You” “I” “They” have opened a can of worms putting Chomsky’s name in the hat as a betrayer of the liberal class. So now that it’s open, why not discuss it?
Chaplains are part of the U.S. military using religion to convince those in uniform that the American cause cause is just.  You might say that the word ” God” is used, to achieve whatever end the power/elite have as their goal, in a name dropper sort of way. From your post gerard I would surmise that you include yourself as to religion “haunting” us.
Those who had the moral autonomy or physical courage to defy the power elite, such as Paul Wellstone, are no longer with us for more than one reason; this serves as an example to those who would also have chosen such a path. The fact that Liberals have no leader is not an accidental happening.grin
Chicago may have given us sleazy politicans Queenie but the Windy City also gave us Studs Terkel , who is dearly missed.
Great column Chris Hedges.

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By Pierre Grimes, October 25, 2010 at 4:19 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Money, and it various transformations into wealth, flows through society like a river whose currents carry along the vessels of trade and commerce and its tributaries create the condition for the growth and development of society and when that flowing current is damned up to satisfy the unquenchable thirst of the greedy you have the conditions for war, pestilence, and chaos.  The remedy, or course, is always obvious.

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By cmarcusparr, October 25, 2010 at 4:19 pm Link to this comment

John Ralston Saul says, “Democracy is the only system capable of reflecting the humanist premise of equilibrium or balance. The key to its secret is the involvement of the citizen.” And also from J. R. Saul, “If allowed to run free of the social system, capitalism will attempt to corrupt and undermine democracy, which is after all not a natural state.”

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By DavidByron, October 25, 2010 at 4:15 pm Link to this comment

“I couldn’t agree more with Mr. Hedges when he states that the real enemy of liberalism has been Chomsky. Or any other ivy-towered elitist who discredits, mocks, and undermines the radical left.
Heaven forfend that they should climb down and get their hands dirty or roll in the mud of battles to help us common folk.

Howard Zinn and Studs Turkel at least gave us insights of the unwashed, unsanitised masses in our struggle for justice.

Have you ever used a pressure cooker? The little steam valve lets off steam so the whole pot doesn’t explode, leaving our victuals on the ceiling.
Chomsky and his kind are that steam valve and the explosion,(REVOLUTION) dearly needed, never happens.”

don’t you mean the liberals are the valve?

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By mdgr, October 25, 2010 at 4:09 pm Link to this comment


Sorry to break it to you, but if you actually read Mr. Hedges piece instead of merely scanning it, you would see that Hedges—with whom you say you agree—actually speaks of Chomsky in a very favorable light.

And yes, Lafayette, he does make reference to the church.
, however,
One of the problems of our times is that the Internet has not just reduced our attention span to one of the most superficial sound-byte-scanning, but for many people, it’s all but decimated the faculty of comprehension.

Thus is is that freedom becomes slavery, ignorance becomes strength, and war becomes peace.

Everyone becomes everyone else—a variant on Christine O’Donnell’s spell—or else becomes an easy adversary.

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By baby blue, October 25, 2010 at 4:03 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

obama, all rhetoric, wolf in sheep’s clothing, was the nail in the coffin—chris
hedges can’t offer a solution because there is none.  it’s over.  play w/ your kids,
go hiking, try to hold onto a job.  pull up a chair and watch the end of what we all
once had.  it’s gonna hurt, but I’m not gonna close my eyes.  though our kids and
grand kids will no more be able to overthrow what’s got us by the throats even
now, it’s important to bear witness for them, for what we once had.

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By gerard, October 25, 2010 at 3:53 pm Link to this comment

Chomsky, of course.  Not Chompsky.  Sorry. Whenever I get really angry I start misspelling stuff.

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By raptor, October 25, 2010 at 3:34 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I lay the blame for our demise at the feet of Robin Leach and his show “Lifestyles
of the Rich and Famous.”

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By gerard, October 25, 2010 at 3:22 pm Link to this comment

Queenie:  O my God, now it’s Chomsky!  Who are the next “ivory tower intellectuals” we are going to “betray” in the interests of finding a kicking post?
  That’s the entire problem with blaming.  Once it starts, there’s no end in sight as everybody jumps on the wagon and heads west for the land of “It’s not me; it’s you, whoever you are!”
  Please!  Chompsky has spent his life giving the human race the best of his efforts to try to understand complex, difficult, depressing problems created not by him, but by us and them. Now he’s getting close to the end of how many books, how many days and nights travelling, studying, reading, teaching, thinking, writing?
  Until you have done at least half as well, what right do you have?

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By RayLan, October 25, 2010 at 3:20 pm Link to this comment

From the comments this article has prompted as well as the facts it exposes, that the real left is now a pariah of the liberal class, it becomes obvious that the culture, or for want of a better phrase the American democratic system are in denial.
A kind of indignation emerges, resisting the unvarnished assertion that things are not what they appear to be and far from what we would wish them to be.
So we get the righteous objections that solutions have not been offered inferring somehow that such Polyanna positivity is an ethical requirement for the speaking of truth to power. First of all this objection is false - since Chris has proposed solutions. It’s just not the topic of this extensive essay. But even if solutions were not proposed, it would not diminish the importance of exposing the problem whether the readers like it or not.
So easily that characteristically American sappy pseudo moralistic rant about positive thinking -
threatens to turn objective analysis into political ideology.

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By mrfreeze, October 25, 2010 at 3:19 pm Link to this comment

WriterontheStorm -

Yes, the notion that our economy can be sustained through service-industry jobs was/is ridiculous. What I find so disturbing is that not only politicians, but our so-called “business leaders” believe we’re going to think or “innovate” our way back to normalcy/prosperity. This isn’t going to happen no matter how hard we believe in the “American Dream.”

Thanks for your comment!

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By mrfreeze, October 25, 2010 at 3:13 pm Link to this comment

3rd Party Voter -

Go fuck yourself! Got it!

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By gerard, October 25, 2010 at 3:10 pm Link to this comment

Lafayette: If your government can convince you that it is okay to go anywhere in the world, exploit people and their resources, kill people, starve children, rape women, sanction lies, graft, imprison and torture people who disagree with you—then God is no more than an illusion you can use to hide behind in order to avoid admtting what you are doing.
  As you may have noticed, religion haunts us like a plague.  An unspecified number of us don’t believe it literally, or even figuratively.  An unspecified (noisy) number believe it literally, though even they don’t believe the same things in the same way.
Some of us are stuggling to escape its clutches.
Some of us are looking for something else to believe in instead. Some are using it to collect money and political power. Some use it to justify all kinds of heinous behavior.  Some even believe their God is talking to them, telling them what to do. Some think it is nothing more, nor less, than the Golden Rule.
For some it is an honest motivation for selfless service to the human race—wherever it is racing to.
  From this you can judge that religion in the U.S. has a lot of confused and poorly understood power.  Power is dangerous. Confusion is dangerous. Ignorance is dangerous.
  And the solution is ......?

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By OSA, October 25, 2010 at 3:07 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

All right, Chris. I get it. Question is: what exactly do you propose that we do? If you don’t have a plan of any kind, any kind of action that can be taken, if everything is doom and gloom and we’re all gonna die, then all you’re doing is throwing a temper tantrum.

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By Big Jess, October 25, 2010 at 2:53 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Best Hedges column yet. And that’s saying something.

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By Queenie, October 25, 2010 at 2:46 pm Link to this comment

I couldn’t agree more with Mr. Hedges when he states that the real enemy of liberalism has been Chomsky. Or any other ivy-towered elitist who discredits, mocks, and undermines the radical left.
Heaven forfend that they should climb down and get their hands dirty or roll in the mud of battles to help us common folk.
Howard Zinn and Studs Turkel at least gave us insights of the unwashed, unsanitised masses in our struggle for justice.
Have you ever used a pressure cooker? The little steam valve lets off steam so the whole pot doesn’t explode, leaving our victuals on the ceiling.
Chomsky and his kind are that steam valve and the explosion,(REVOLUTION) dearly needed, never happens.

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By Gerald Sutliff, October 25, 2010 at 2:30 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I HATED IT but for sure Chris Hayes couldn’t be more correct.  IMHO it all began when the Union movement settled for the comfortable hot houseplant existence aka as the Wagner Act then they learned to love being screwed by Taft-Hartly.

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By frank1569, October 25, 2010 at 2:14 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Two theories:

1. Capitalism succeeded - we all have so much food, water, clothing, shelter and crap we simply can’t consume anymore. The only way to keep the system alive is to blow up the economy, strip as many of us of as much as possible, then sell it all back to us during the ‘recovery.’

2. With the ‘end of combat’ in Iraq and the clock ticking on our Afghanistan occupation, Big War Profiteer has run out of perpetual profit markets - so a certain faction is attempting to spark civil unrest with the hopes of drumming up some business stateside.

Hey, I said they were just theories, but when ya look at the hard facts on the ground…

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By Lafayette, October 25, 2010 at 2:12 pm Link to this comment


CH: Tocqueville observed that the French, on the eve of their revolution, hated the aristocrats about to lose their power far more than they had ever hated them before. The increased hatred directed at the aristocratic class occurred because as the aristocracy lost real power there was no decline in their fortunes.

You forgot the Roman Catholic Church, Chris.

The aristocracy was just the frosting on the cake the best elements of which the King kept close by so that he could keep an eye on them, which is why he built palatial Versailles (free room and board for hundreds upon hundreds of them).

Below the aristocrats were the landed-gentry who earned their fortunes in the only manner that they could – from the land. Commerce was not quite yet the real money-spinner at the time. Finance and commerce where not considered “honorable” professions and thus not fit for good Christians.

And along with the landed-gentry, the other major land-owner (throughout Europe) was the Catholic Church.

And the Catholic Church in France came to be hated as well. Let’s not forget that the Kings of Europe reigned by means of Divine Right (to the throne) and were crowned by Cardinals in Catholic Cathedrals. As a result of the French Revolution the Catholic Church was significantly diminished, its lands confiscated along with its treasures. It would not be restored to a semblance of faithful followers for another two centuries.

So what does this have to do with the debate?

None of this seems to have any relevance with America today. After all, nobody is attacking the Catholic Church. Perhaps, but consider how many politicians would like their constituents to think that they were anointed by God - so fervently do they wrap themselves in Ole Betsy with a bible in their righteous hand.

Let us not underestimate the God-factor in America. And so the question comes, how could these plutocrats come to power without affecting the deeply held faith in God held by Americans?

What about the 7th/8th commandment (depending upon which belief you belong): Thou shalt not steal. Isn’t this what has been going on? Because it is not illegal, is their greed any less serious than outright stealing? And when they base their megabuck-earning antics upon fraudulent processes, whether in the Board Room or on Wall Street, is this not criminal? And therefore against God’s law?

So few feel that the incarceration in poverty of countless numbers of people, or the thousands deprived of decent Health Care, or making nomads out of people put out of house and home has any religious tone or context? What has happened to our Judeo-Christian sense of morality?

In a nation of God-this and God-that and God-everything, I figure he’s getting off scot-free.

Just who is your God therefore? Has he got a stake in the action?

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By Laudyms, October 25, 2010 at 2:08 pm Link to this comment

“Opportunists” is the keyword here. It hardly matters that they claim to be liberal except that they have cheapened the language of social justice with insincere rhetoric, while continuously shilling for the powers-that-be.

The motto of the Democratic elite is “make me an offer.”  Since we seem unable to demand authenticity, it is quite revealing what we are willing to accept in its stead.

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By rottencommierat, October 25, 2010 at 1:57 pm Link to this comment

Good piece, as always Chris, but I do think you should have mentioned the role of our mass media in shutting out public interst ideas, to get the masses following the propaganda they spew 24/7

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By 3rd party voter, October 25, 2010 at 1:32 pm Link to this comment

Freeze: I’m done trying to decipher your blatherings.

Kindly do not speak for me, and in the future, the decency will be returned. You may suffer from projection but that does not make it so.

K? thx

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By Beaudigger, October 25, 2010 at 1:27 pm Link to this comment

Most of us probably cannot truly understand the change our societies face under pressure of the new media.

Indeed we all must survive in the same system.  Some care about the quality of our children’s future.  Some greedily take with no concern for the impact.  We all know who usually gets the toy.

Who is truly educating our children, the world’s children?  Can anyone really influence the new values brought on by this hyper-consumerist society?  Indeed, it looks as if we are awakening to a “new fuedalism”.  Remember who won.  Its a struggle.

One thing will not change and this is the effect economics have on history.  We no longer live in neat villages sporting clean cultural lines, nor do we have Japan’s kind of homogenaity- the hallmark of developed society.  There’s a new page- a global one.  We all are watching change like never before and indeed-as ever- wealth will perpetuate wealth, thus ever to survive. 

The term liberal has been raped. Words are not the abstraction of scientists, they are concrete and real.  The values formerly ascribed to liberalism will perhaps now present themselves in the living manner of all grass roots movements- of revolution. Did you watch how Iran tried to come out on the streets?  All of us on the street, that’s how we start a chance for change- once the former institution of governance looks like a locked down boardroom meeting.

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By mdgr, October 25, 2010 at 1:22 pm Link to this comment

Thank you, Chris.

Readers might find his Q&A his speech of interest

I find it equally telling that Mr. Scheer took that article down from Truthdig’s Home Page just three days after it was posted which, since a thread was emerging, was very off-putting.

I see it as one of the most incisive offerings on Truthdig—ever—and Mr. Scheer most recent article suggested that he just had an epiphany about the two party system (Vichy/Berlin).

But maybe not.

Anyway, for those who cannot read between the lines, Mr. Hedges is indeed implying Resistance and, in the end, a violent collapsing of the State, though rather down the road.

He is emphatically not talking about peace marches from the 60’s where we sang “We shall overcome.” That may have worked then, but it isn’t working now. Now, all we have is Berlin (the R’s) and Vichy (the collaborators.

He is also talking about how at some point—his words in the Q&A, with appropriate understatement—we may need to break the law.

Whether that involves mere civil disobedience or something out of Derrick Jensen’s “Endgame” is yet to be determined.

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By Stencil, October 25, 2010 at 1:17 pm Link to this comment

Great essay Chris, there are still some leftists out there, thanks for all you do.

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By WriterOnTheStorm, October 25, 2010 at 1:15 pm Link to this comment


Nice post. I would only add that the “zeitgeist of becoming rich” is known as the
American Dream, and it’s been around a little longer than Reagan.

The lure of great wealth is the essential part in the mechanism of capitalism.
Much of Americas vaunted enterprise and innovation stems from this drive. Even
if for most this dream is an illusion, we should remember that without it, many
would languish in hopelessness.

Reagan did more than just talk about shining cities on the hill. He and his
neoliberal cohorts had a plan to revitalize the economy by dis-empowering
labor. The plan involved breaking unions, dismantling trade barriers, and lifting
the restrictions on corporate off-shoring and outsourcing. Every president since
Reagan, including Obama, has doggedly marched to the neoliberal drumbeat.

Today, we are living in the result of this 3 pronged attack on labor. The country
has been stripped of its middle class. Families need two incomes to survive.
Unions, as Chris pointed out in the article, have almost no real power any more.
The country’s manufacturing base is diminished. And we are witnessing a
spectacular and historical redistribution of wealth from the have-less to the

Reagan was naive/cynical to claim that all those lost manufacturing jobs would
be replaced by service sector and high tech jobs. But going for short term gains
and hoping for the best because-the-world-is-coming-to-a-biblical-
armageddon-anyway is what neo (i.e. christian) conservatives do.

Obama, on the other hand, is just plain stupid if he can not see that neoliberal
economics is finished. The short terms gains under preceding administrations
are over, and now that the bubbles have stopped obscuring the view, it’s easy to
see that what we are left with is a global corporatism in which all national
economies must acquiesce to the lowest wages and poorest labor conditions or
cease to remain competitive.

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By skulz fontaine, October 25, 2010 at 1:07 pm Link to this comment

“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution
inevitable.”... Kennedy, the Prince of Camelot
Break out the guillotines and let the fun begin!

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By "G"utless "W"itless Hitler, October 25, 2010 at 12:58 pm Link to this comment

Chicken Little goes to town,
Screams the sky is falling,
Chicken Hedges writes it down,
Each week THE END is calling!

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By mrfreeze, October 25, 2010 at 12:44 pm Link to this comment

3rd Party Voter:

Your comment is actually quite instructive:

Republicans still worship Ronnie and will openly admit they will always embrace his (bullshit) vision of the world.

Democrats and Liberals (and all the others) CLAIM they never agreed with Reagan….but they all did everything they could to live the “morning in America” dream. It’s almost a DADT conservatism.

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By nemonemini, October 25, 2010 at 12:43 pm Link to this comment

Liberals need a broader view of culture, history, and science, with a critique of the Darwinism, Social Darwinism, and economic ideology they have falsely embraced, ceding the issue to the right

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By David J. Cyr, October 25, 2010 at 12:42 pm Link to this comment

I strongly disagree with Hedges’ ahistorical myth-based belief that liberals did (past tense) earlier serve a good purpose, but he is correct in saying that liberals no longer perform the function that they were designed for.

Reform used to be the liberal changing of appearances without changing anything but appearances. Now, reform means making something bad far worse than it was before it got liberal reformed.

The human rights gained by unions were not fought for by liberals. Decades before Hedges was born, the liberals were corporate party organizing to exterminate the actual Left that had built the mighty unions that Democrats have very purposefully decade upon decade dismantled… thereby destroying the foundation required for a middle-class to exist. It was devious liberal policies that eliminated the middle-class, replacing it with an indentured class. Liberals have been part of the Left only in the way that cancer cells are part of their host.

In 1954, the most liberal Warren Supreme Court, in a (9-0) decision, regarding Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, ruled that de jure racial segregation was a violation of the equal protection of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Today, 56 years later, this nation still has de facto separate and
unequal schools for black children. Liberals changed laws to get blacks to stop organizing effectively, and left everything racist running pretty much the same. The “progressive” liberals were dancing in the streets pleased with themselves over the racial “progress” of the 2008 elections that “historically” allowed a nice
polite Oreo cookie “black” man to commit the highest of crimes that only white men were allowed to commit before.

The liberals were not anti-war in the 60’s. They were just anti-draft, because they didn’t want “educated” middle-class white boys to fight the imperial wars then providing liberals’ their prosperity. The economic draft we have now was the 60’s liberals’ answer to war being Hell. Liberals believe because they’ve raised their consciousness that it’s acceptable for them to do the things unconscionable. That’s why they so love the “School of the Americas” Kennedy, the peremptory war to redeploy NATO and extraordinary rendition providing Clinton… and Obama, who delivered on his promise to them that he would make a “dumb” war become more “necessary” wars.

Liberals have always been the perfect enemy of all the good that could be, because the metastasizing liberals have always so earnest activist ensured that every best possibility would become an impossibility.

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By DavidByron, October 25, 2010 at 12:37 pm Link to this comment

Bubba: “What is most required is a viable alternative to capitalism”

Socialism (rolls eyes) duh.

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By gerard, October 25, 2010 at 12:37 pm Link to this comment

Know something?  This self-flagellation will get us nowhere, even though there may be a lot truth in the facts presented.  But some of it sounds very strident. As I read it, I had to acknowledge an image that came to mind:  The fanatical believers in Islam who, once a year, beat themselves with whips, ropes, chains till their blood runs.
  Chris Hedges has frequently referred to nonviolent resistance, civil disobedience etc., as though to inspire his readers to “do something”. Yet he has never given any indication of specifics:  Just what do you do and how do you do it.  In other words, the most important and difficult part. Though inadequately qualified, I have tried to fill the gap. Not surprisingly, I get the “wimp” rebuttal.
  Chris Hedges presesnts the situation as not just difficult, but virtually impossible.  Most of the article is blame, which is fairly easy to articulate.
In this finger-pointing mode, people usually have the grace to point out that they do not exempt themselves, and share the blame.
  I blame nobody and everybody, including myself, for not having succeeded, in spite of trying to influence governments national, state and local—for annoying my complacent friends with reminders of what I see as some partial “truth.”—for not starting a march on Washington, using the fact that I’m 96 years old as a “reason” and believing that I would cause more trouble than good simply because of physical limitations. I don’t know which is worse—being a 96 year old wimp or blaming everybody else.
  At any rate, blame isn’t going to “get it.” Hope-
fully, courage, wisdom and creativity are still part of the human psyche, “liberal” or otherwise.

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By DavidByron, October 25, 2010 at 12:34 pm Link to this comment

Wasn’t Edward R. Murrow in the CIA’s project Mockingbird?

“You know, during the flowering of liberalism that Chris cites, there was also a thing called “news”. It was based not only on the freedom of the press, but of manic attention to the responsibility of the press. People like Edward R. Murrow and many, many others, fretted over their writings, concerned that they were truly objective”

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By 3rd party voter, October 25, 2010 at 12:29 pm Link to this comment


I never even for a single second believed in Ronald(6) Wilson(6) Reagan(6).

I found it quite amusing though, that the last house that Ronnie lived in on this planet was addressed 666 St. Cloud Rd, Bel Air. Nancy was so spooked her and her astrologer went to LA City and re-numbered it.

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By DavidByron, October 25, 2010 at 12:27 pm Link to this comment

This is a very confusing piece.  I wish the terms “liberal” and “us” had been defined at some point.  At some point on page one I am sure he suggests “us” is a subset of “liberal” and by page three “us” is the greatest enemy of “liberal”.

It’s all confusing.  Is this a confusion of what terms mean in history?  Is this because of changing meaning of “liberal”?  Article seems to suggest liberals ever were good for anything which I find odd.  I thought liberals were right winger elitist agents who pretend to be the loyal opposition to fool people into thinking there’s a democracy?  The idea that they offer a solution to anything ever is a bit odd.  Is that something from the past?

Really.  Just define your terms dude and it’ll all be a lot clearer I promise you.

LMAO the idea that the church is ever going to help anyone, or that the press was ever going to say anything for the workers.  What century is Hedges living in?  Has that EVER been true?

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By entropy2, October 25, 2010 at 12:26 pm Link to this comment

“The liberal class, which once made piecemeal and incremental reform possible, functioned traditionally as a safety valve.”

Of course! That’s what the liberal class was designed for. A century ago, the corporate plutocracy decided that the uncertainty and risk associated with a truly free market was not profitable. So over the following decades, it allowed the creation of a liberal technocracy to institutionalize its dominance. The unwashed got shorter work hours (but no escape from exploitation) and marginally better living standards (along with utter dependence on the tender mercies of the state-corporate hegemony). In return corporate-socialists got a trained and compliant work force through the public school system and barriers to the entry of competition through regulations (ostensibly for the protection of public safety and health), through restricted access to capital per the central banking system and through artificial rents extracted by ever-expanding intellectual property “rights.” When they found themselves over-capitalized, they got eternal war to open new markets and to destroy surplus capital. Business was cartelized among the big players and the average slob felt lucky to get a few scraps off the table. Every so-called liberal program since the beginning of the 20th century has been crafted by and, ultimately, for the benefit of the plutocracy. The modern liberal class was NEVER more than a catspaw for the elite.


“The very forces that co-opted the liberal class and are responsible for the impoverishment of the state will, ironically, reap benefits from the collapse.”

Well, yeah. That was the whole idea. In any case, the corporate plutocracy isn’t allowing the total collapse of the state…only the aspects of the state it doesn’t need any more. That is, those associated with supporting living standards and conditions and protecting civil rights. Believe me, they want a robust state around to protect their ill-gained wealth and to fight the wars to get them more of it.


“The corporate state has failed to grasp the vital role the liberal class traditionally plays in sustaining a stable power system.”

Two issues here. First, the corporate state knows exactly what its doing. The elite have looked around the world and found economic-political systems a lot more to their liking than ours. Look for us to trend much more toward the China model. That is, patriotism and “national pride” combined with suppression of “destabilizing” elements (all for the laudable social objectives of public safety and prosperity). The elite cuts out the middleman (the liberal class) and decides how much pressure to let off, where it should be let off and who should be allowed to let it off. That way, the population can be divided against itself and kept in eternal competition for the carrots the corporate-socialist state chooses to dangle.

Second issue…why is the demise of this modern-day class of Quislings a BAD THING? Our “stable power system” sucks, and any group that supports it is just as culpable as their masters.


What we need is a non-hierarchical power system. As long as you believe the state is the only way we can structure our society, you are a willing participant in violence and coercion of some individuals for the needs (legitimate or not) of others. The state will ALWAYS protect the interests of the elite. It always has (read Howard Zinn if you think the U.S. is any exception) and always will.

Rather than wringing their hands over a non-existent betrayal of an illusory social contract, the liberal elite should be putting their heads (and resources) together to help create communities beyond the grasp of state or corporate domination. Average people need to be able to connect with each other and to form personal relationships of trust and interdependence. As long as we are dependent on the corporate state for what we need to live, we are doomed to impotence and exploitation.

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By mrfreeze, October 25, 2010 at 12:13 pm Link to this comment

Hedges wrote a lot of words (as are many of you over-dramatic posters) when he could have summed-up THE problem with “liberals,” which is:

When Ronald Reagan declared it’s “morning in America” and he put his putrid blessings of avarice and mean-spiritedness on the U.S. EVERYONE bought into the zeitgeist of “becoming rich!” It was just too tempting…...and now, we are bankrupted both financially and morally as a country because liberals, conservatives, libertarians…...all of us believed the Gipper.

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By hlouisnini, October 25, 2010 at 12:13 pm Link to this comment

Atta boy Chris - throw another bomb (ala Newt) - but God forbid you should offer a solution.

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By WriterOnTheStorm, October 25, 2010 at 12:11 pm Link to this comment

In December 1975, Carlos “The Jackal” Sanchez stormed the OPEC meeting in
Vienna, taking 70 hostages. The kidnappers and their hostages were provided
with a DC9 and they flew out of Austria bound for Syria.

Carlos’ big plan was to land the plane in each successive OPEC country, read a
statement about the Palestinian plight, then release that county’s OPEC minister.
Surely the world would have to listen then, he reasoned.

But the Syrians refused him asylum. They refused to even answer the radio. He
tried to land in Libya but the Libyans turned off the airport runway lights. He had
no choice but to return to Syria. Communicating through the Austrian
Ambassador to Syria, Carlos was offered an alternative: release the hostages and
in return he would be granted asylum, and his “cause” would receive a large
donation, purportedly 2 million dollars.

Marginalized, betrayed, and with no place to go, Carlos could either stick to his
guns, literally and figuratively, and pay for his political convictions with a lengthy
prison sentence or even death. Or he could take the money and run.

Carlos’ choice. Sounds like a bad title for a movie, but that movie would be a
story that is played out over and over in American politics. The carrot of wealth
and power, a seat at the table, combined with the stick of marginalization,
ridicule and struggle.

Carlos was a dedicated Marxist from a family of Marxists. He believed in his
cause enough to take the lives of others and risk his own life in return. But what
did he do back in December of 1975? He took the money and ran is what he did.

If a man of Carlos’ conviction can be thus corrupted, what chance does a pack of
empty rhetoric spewing opportunists known as liberal politicians have?

Yes Chris, the liberal class has let us down. But it’s not as if the enemies of
liberalism stood idly by watched these people shoot themselves in the foot. They
gave them the gun.

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By c-post, October 25, 2010 at 12:09 pm Link to this comment

Hedges is too pessimistic, much too pedantic, and too caught up in the misleading labels “liberal” and “conservative”, which are misassigned in an Orwellian doublespeak.

At every turn, I find myself puzzled by the definitions and words being used. If “conservatives” are those who wish to keep things the way they are, and “liberals” are those who seek change, then it was in fact the liberal wing of the Supreme Court that made the dreadful Citizens United decision.

George Bush was a liberal. He sought and obtained radical change which departed from “American values” (a highly ambiguous phrase to begin with). He spent recklessly on war. His agenda was to “outreach” to other countries to spread so called “democracy”. A true conservative would have preferred to stay at home. 

Isn’t Barack Obama a conservative? He wants to conserve the environment. He wants to go back to the way things were BEFORE the repeal of Glass Steagall. If conservative policies were imposed on Wall Street, wouldn’t that mean they have to CURB their excesses?? And isn’t that what today’s so-called “liberals” want?

My point is the labels “liberal” and “conservative” are misleading, in fact, inverted, and if you are obsessed with ambiguous labels, I think you are going in the wrong direction.

Here are some other examples of the inverted language: A credit report is not a credit report it is a debt report. A homeowner is not a homeowner unless they own the house 100 percent! Using words which imply possession when in fact there is no possession are fundamentally dishonest. Ah but this is the way of Capitalism.

How can we think and reason when the very words imbedded in our language block our understanding?

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By PhreedomPhan, October 25, 2010 at 12:02 pm Link to this comment

Any article that starts by referring to opponents of the authors ideas as a “lunatic” fringe is not worth the time to read it.

I did read a few paragraphs to confirm my original conclusion.  I particularly liked the “abetted” in reference to “liberal” support of the capitalists.  Of course they support the capitalists.  They are owned by them.  They got their education (indoctrination in colleges that depend on grants from those capitalists and their foundations.

All of the modern “liberal” political systems, communism, Fabian socialism, German National Socialism, and Italian Fascism, all Hegelian based socialisms, are slightly variant forms of the ultimate capitalist monopoly in which the state owns or controls everything and the capitalists own the state.

There’s the truth!  Now I expect all the “Truthdiggers” in this group to quickly dig a hole to bury it in.  Hopefully, there will be a few whose minds have not been completely washed by the “educational” system.


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By ElkoJohn, October 25, 2010 at 11:43 am Link to this comment

The Democratic Party is the path of slow death.
The Republican Party is the path of a quick death.
From the ashes, the Phoenix shall rise.

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By FRTothus, October 25, 2010 at 11:26 am Link to this comment

Capitalism is the crime.

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By JDmysticDJ, October 25, 2010 at 11:19 am Link to this comment

I am amazed by the ignorance and distortion I see posted here. Much of it seems to be nothing more than vitriolic irrational anger; nearly devoid of reality in its hysterical ranting.

Apparently many see Obama as a dictator responsible for all governmental actions. The Republican obstruction of every piece of Democratic legislation is totally ignored, and the “Art of the possible” is seen as a betrayal by Obama the traitor.

The long lists of accusations directed at Obama frequently posted here on truthdig are distortions of reality, exaggerations, and the lists fail to acknowledge the very real actions taken by the Democrats to correct or curtail the abuses listed.

“1. Gutted real financial reform (no Glass-Steagle, no ‘too big too fail)”

From the Guardian U.K.:

“Obama takes on America’s banks with new Glass-Steagall act
President Obama targets Wall Street with reforms that echo classic Depression-era legislation that prevented commercial banks from making risky trades”

(There’s much more, from many sources, the debate included attacks on Obama from the Right, and Obama publically calling the Wall Streamers “A bunch of Fat Cats.”)

“2. Rejected the only health care option that would simultaneously extend
coverage and cut costs (single payer)”

Single payer had absolutely no chance of becoming law. It took months, and months, of political wrangling, to get the inadequate Bill passed in the Senate. Every single Republican opposed real Health Care reform, and the Health Care Insurance Companies spent 100’s of millions of dollars opposing reform.

People who claim to want a better Health Care system for Americans, and then attack very real Health Care improvements, are using demagoguery to attack Obama and the Democrats, which seems to indicate they are more concerned with disparaging Obama and the Democrats than they are with improving Health Care for Americans. Lives will be saved because of the Bill, and already have been saved because of the Bill. Contrast that with the Republican Governor of Arizona, and her Republican cohorts in the Arizona Legislature, who have assumed the authority of a death panel, by removing funding for critical life threatening medical procedures, and have removed tens of thousands of children from Health Care coverage. 

3. Supported a stingy stimulus (one-third tax breaks)

Again, every Republican opposed the stimulus legislation, in spite of the Democrats including tax cuts for small business. Clearly the Republicans are/were bound and determined to make the “Art of the possible,” impossible.

4. Doubled-down & accelerated the Bush bailouts

“Doubled-down” is an example of the aforementioned distortion and exaggeration. The Democrats rejected Paulson’s request for a blank check in terms of accountability. The consensus of nearly all economists is that TARP prevented a collapse of the world economy, and prevented world wide depression. The crisis was immediate and required action. If the Congress had not acted and this non-action resulted in a world wide economic collapse, then real and legitimate complaints would be justified. Incidentally, I’m sure that the ignorant would be surprised to learn that the TARP legislation to date has cost the Federal Government 30 Billion, and not the 700 billion constantly referenced.

“5. Escalated a fruitless war in Afghanistan”

Agreed, Obama’s Foreign Policy and National Security actions are in my view reprehensible, and tragically misguided. Do you propose that John McCain, the Republicans, and their assorted loony sycophants would put forth more rational policies? Some on the Right are advocating no negotiation with Iran and immediate attack.

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By G.Anderson, October 25, 2010 at 11:17 am Link to this comment

The Democratic party is no more, it’s a sham and scam just like Obama. This country
is on the road to oblivion.

In the decades ahead everyone will have to endure much pain and suffering, because
of this. Everyone.

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By JDmysticDJ, October 25, 2010 at 11:12 am Link to this comment

Distotions (Cont,)

”6. Not helped people in bankruptcy & needing mortgage remediation”

“By Michael A. Fletcher and Renae Merle
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, February 19, 2009

MESA, Ariz., Feb. 18—President Obama unveiled a foreclosure-prevention package Wednesday that would pour more than $75 billion into arresting one of the root causes of the nation’s economic spiral by helping as many as 9 million homeowners obtain more affordable mortgage terms.”

Recently Obama vetoed legislation that would have made foreclosure an easier process for banking institutions.

Obama vetoes bill to speed foreclosures
By Jennifer Liberto, senior writerOctober 7, 2010: 5:56 PM ET

WASHINGTON (—President Obama won’t sign a bill that could have made it easier for courts to clear foreclosures, the White House said Thursday.

“7. Not passed a jobs bill & had trouble extending unemployment compensation”

The ignorance of this statement is so glaringly obvious that comment should not be necessary, but just to set the record straight, I’ll point out that Republicans unanimously blocked both unemployment compensation extension, and jobs bills proposed by the Democrats.

“8. Ignored previous Republican profligacy, crimes, misdemeanors.”

Obama had a full slate when being inaugurated, and chose to focus on other matters. Can you imagine the accusations of dereliction of duty and conflagration and grid lock that would have ensued if Obama had focused on prosecuting Bush and his coterie of criminals? The Obama Justice Department investigated the Bush Justice Department for 2 long years, only to have Bush Administration Justice Department appointees, who were grand fathered into the Obama Administration, effectively thwart the prosecution by using legal chicanery which resulted in evidence being inadmissible, much to the angry condemnation of the Judge presiding over the case.

9. Used “Heck of a Job, Timmy” to promote low taxes for the wealthy on capital
gains, dividends and ‘carried interest’

This distortion begins with a childish Adhominem attack, I personally am not an admirer of Geithner, but the insult clearly demonstrates the poster’s vehement and distorted attitude. The Bush Administration lowered the tax rate on Capital Gains and Dividends to 15%, and the Obama Administration has been recommending raising it to 20%, while the Democrats have been recommending raising the tax to 39.6%. (Personally I’d like to raise the taxes on Capital Gains and Dividends to the levels of the Eisenhower Administration, when Capital Gains and Dividends were taxed at 91% for those in the highest marginal income tax rate.)

10. Sandbagged the ‘Budget Commission’ with Max Baucus clones to cut cut

“Sandbagged” “cut cut cut,” more drivel.

The Bi-Partisan Budget commission is made up of 18 members, 6 appointed by Republicans, 6 by Democrats, and 6 by Obama. The recommendations by the “National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform” will not be binding, and the recommendations must be approved by 14 of the 18 members before release. If the Obama appointees are Max Baucus clones, the Republicans should be dissatisfied with the clone appointees; Baucus recommends letting the tax cuts for the richest Americans expire.

Obama’s budget had no chance of making it through Congress because it did not address entitlements as was demanded by Republicans, and because the included expiration of tax cuts for the richest was unacceptable to Senate Republicans.

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By freelyb, October 25, 2010 at 10:56 am Link to this comment

“You know, during the flowering of liberalism that Chris cites, there was also a thing called “news”. It was based not only on the freedom of the press, but of manic attention to the responsibility of the press.”

So very important. Journalism is a calling for those who can treat the news as sacred. My deepest sorrow in the whole current series of messes has come about as more astute and virtuous older journalists exit the scene. (I am glad Hedges is doing his part.)

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By BrunoDiderot, October 25, 2010 at 9:59 am Link to this comment

Mr. Hedges: 

I like your writing, but I have several items to add (some of which you
referenced, however gently or indirectly).  Your article here in TRUTHDIG tended
to be a bit non-specific (frankly):

1.  Political correctness (re: race and gender issues) is a function of ideology
(which as a necessary consequence of itself: ignores facts—this pertains to
any ideology obviously), and is an attempt to “re-balance” or “compensate” for
past wrongs by relying on caricature as a substitute for fact (the fact being: the
reality of past oppression) which—you guessed it—somehow compels “re-
balance” by demonizing (use of caricature) those who meet the phenotype of
“the oppressor”)

2.  Liberalism is universalist in its aspirations (“human rights,” etc.), and so is
oblivious to the most powerful political theme and the second-most powerful
emotional theme of the post-medieval age in the West:  nationalism

3.  Liberalism is secular, and so is oblivious to the most powerful emotional
theme and the second-most powerful political theme of the post-medieval age
in the West:  politicized religiosity, which is another way of saying (in the USA)
“conservative Christianity” (elsewhere on the planet, “conservative Islam” has
the same power)

4.  The USA is, fundamentally, a conservative country, and it has now returned
to its conservative roots.  When in the 20th century has the USA been truly
“liberal” ?  During the New Deal (first years thereof), 1964-65 (slight majority in
favor of civil rights for blacks), and ... when else ???

5.  Those who pretended to be liberals turned out, post-9/11, not to be
liberals after all, didn’t they ?  I could name names, but I think most folks already
recognize the names of nearly every prominent Democrat in the country, so I
guess I won’t bother making a list.

6.  Money from lobbyists succeeded in buying off the chief, historic source
(most of the 20th century) of liberal leadership, one of whose tenets was ... reasonable regulation of business, to wit:  members of Congress who are

I look forward to reading your book.

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By cruxpuppy, October 25, 2010 at 9:59 am Link to this comment

What is the point of this article? Hedges encourages liberals to contemplate their own irrelevance, thus giving aid and comfort to liberal-haters, guaranteeing an outcome he claims he doesn’t want.

“Conservatives” seem to have an idea of who these liberals are, ie, those who do not agree with them. But only a liberal, by virtue of a liberal education, has the wherewithal to actually think without ideological blinders.

What Hedges is talking about with his “liberal class” category is actually the middle class, that group which wants to live with a modicum of comfort and security and tolerance for all, the “live and let live” constituency. This is the great majority of the American people.

And I must say, they are not contemptible in their desire for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. They are surrounded on all sides by ideologues with agendas not compatible with democracy, or more accurately, republicanism, because we do not in fact have a democratic system, strictly speaking. We have slightly over half a thousand individuals claiming to represent the voice of the people. And each one of these so-called representatives is owned by one ideological oligarch or another, with some exceptions.

The will of the people is not directly translated into policy. That will is liberal in its character if we define liberalism as the universal desire ( every human being ) for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

You’re part of the problem, Hedges, you bespectacled enemy of the middle class.

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By vicente carranza, October 25, 2010 at 9:50 am Link to this comment

To Jennifer Bedingfield your remarks were right on. Amen. United States history can how prove that Capitalism and Democracy do not go together anymore.  To be the kind of Capitalist we have today you can not have principles and be successful at the same time. To ‘the warm’ your remarks are right on also. Beautiful!!!  But allow me to share something I have learned on a local, on a state and on the National Levels of government.  The office seeker can faithfully and truthfully   promise you everything and anything when he/she is running for the office.  But history also shows that the man or woman does not make the office, the office makes the person.  You have to do what the office requires or this whole country will self destruct as it is now and the office holder will get the blame. And no one wants to get blame. So from how on regardless of who is in office nothing is going to change unless the majority of the people get together and demand change.  In the last 8000 years no one who has had the gold and the power has given it up voluntarily by the kindness of his/her heart. It has always been taken by force.  So what do we want to do is the question.  The bottom line question is do we want to keep the same United States or do we want to have a new United States.  And until we have at least 70% of the people on one side or the other nothing is going to change. So the only thing we have in the future is death.  Love you guys.

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By omop, October 25, 2010 at 9:46 am Link to this comment

Why is it so hard to accept reality:

      Woodrow Wilson President:

          “There is a power somewhere so organized, so subtle , so interlocked
so complete so pervasive that they better not speak above a whisper where
they speak in condemnation of it.”

      Felix Frankfurter. U.S. supreme Court Justice.

          ” The real rulers in Washington are invisible and exrcise power from
behind the scenes.”

      President Janes Garfield.

          ” Whoever controls the volume of money in any country is master of all its legislation and commerce.”

      Mr. Hedges aught to realise by now that “true liberlasim as well as its
opposite true conservatism” are but illusions for public consumptions.

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By balkas, October 25, 2010 at 9:33 am Link to this comment

‘Liberals’ [saves me saying socalled liberals] have actually mightily contributed to
the present iron grip on power by a minority of people.

For haven’t they heard of the US constitution and congresspeople’s admonition
to all organizations, movements, marches, militias, biker gangs: We are a nation
of laws; i.e., governed solely by laws or to put it another way: US will forever be
ruled by the three governmental branches; the judiciary, congress, and WH.

In short, US is solely governed by constitution; it being just a set of laws and
vague directions and presented to 99.99% of americans as a diktat.

And only US constitution allowing US constitution to be interpreted. Ok, ok!
Constitution in effect being just paper and just like paper with geneva
conventions written on it, protecting-serving no one, save the ruling class.
tnx for ur left, right ears and the finger!

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By wordsonfire, October 25, 2010 at 9:22 am Link to this comment

Yes .. Nothing could be worse than say the million women who die every year
because the first things conservatives always do when they come into office is
demand that the global gag order be re-instituted . . .

Although the liberals are clearly in bed with the power structure . . .they still
deliver better public health and other policies .  . there is a functional difference
even if it isn’t enough of one . . .

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By Bill Wolfe, October 25, 2010 at 9:06 am Link to this comment

This scene from “On the Waterfront” is fitting - the elite liberal class is just like Charlie:

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By the worm, October 25, 2010 at 8:45 am Link to this comment


And here’s the kicker: We voted for a liberal agenda.

Instead of a liberal agenda, Obama:

1. Gutted real financial reform (no Glass-Steagle, no ‘too big too fail)

2. Rejected the only health care option that would simultaneously extend
coverage and cut costs (single payer)

3. Supported a stingy stimulus (one-third tax breaks)

4. Doubled-down & accelerated the Bush bailouts

5. Escalated a fruitless war in Afghanistan

6. Not helped people in bankruptcy & needing mortgage remediation

7. Not passed a jobs bill & had trouble extending unemployment compensation

8. Ignored previous Republican profligacy, crimes, misdemeanors

9. Used “Heck of a Job, Timmy” to promote low taxes for the wealthy on capital
gains, dividends and ‘carried interest’

10. Sandbagged his “Budget Commission” with Max Baucus clones to accelerate
the transfer of wealth from the middle class to the wealthy.

The simple fact is America’s voters were given the bumb’s rush by Obama, his
Republican and Wall Street advisors and the military/mercenary crowd.

The liberals voted for a pig in a poke and got Republican policies a la Obama
fellow Kansasan Bob Dole.

What a disgrace to America and to the Democratic Party.

We Democrats cannot do worse than Obama’s warmed-over Republicanism.

No matter the predictions of dire consequences, we Democrats must dump
Obama in 2012. Nothing could be worse than what he has done to America and
to the Party.

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By Bubba, October 25, 2010 at 8:39 am Link to this comment

What is most required is a viable alternative to capitalism as it is understood and practised today.  Henry George laid out what this alternative is in a book, Progress and Poverty, published in 1879.  Fans have included Samuel Clemens, George Bernard Shaw, Leo Tolstoy, Winston Churchill and Albert Einstein. 

If Chris would read this book—and George wrote several more as well—he’d have the opportunity to stop beating the dead horse of liberals and start riding a wave of economic, and therefore political and cultural, sanity. 

But he’s no more motivated to discover and implement sane solutions—not really—than any of the rest of you who are reading this and who will decide to remain ignorant of George’s economics. 


Enjoy the next few decades.

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By morristhewise, October 25, 2010 at 8:38 am Link to this comment

In a nation without voters, connected business people could do what ever they
wished with the taxpayers money. They would spend it on expanding their profits,
security, and the rest on social programs to pacify potential malcontents. That is
being done now, but it is best to give voters the illusion that they are the boss.

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JenniferBedingfield's avatar

By JenniferBedingfield, October 25, 2010 at 8:35 am Link to this comment

I thought that the “liberal” class died a long time ago starting with Clinton and that now the “progressive” class is being killed by Obama. I believe that we are at a point where ideological labels are becoming irrelevant while the need to figure out what we need to principally stand for is becoming more important. As for capitalism, only disaster capitalism is viewed as capitalism in the USA while regulated capitalism that exists in other nations is mistaken as “socialism”. In any case, I would be interested in reading his book just to figure out his take on why he thinks that now is finally when it died out. At this point, I don’t care what ideological labels people want to associate themselves with so much as I care about standing for principles.

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By FiftyGigs, October 25, 2010 at 8:24 am Link to this comment

A very thought-provoking article.

Funny. I can here from another website, supposedly liberal, that was blasting a headline about GAYS MIGHT NOT VOTE because they’re so ticked at Obama they’d rather have a conservative freak representing them than someone who’s working toward their goals. Curious, I clicked to the article to see the basis for this fantastic headline.

An actor wrote something on his blog.

That was it.

An actor wrote something on his blog, and somehow it wound up as the huge headline that might just tilt this country further toward despotism, to use Chris’ analysis.

You know, during the flowering of liberalism that Chris cites, there was also a thing called “news”. It was based not only on the freedom of the press, but of manic attention to the responsibility of the press. People like Edward R. Murrow and many, many others, fretted over their writings, concerned that they were truly objective, that they avoided personal issues irrelevant to the policy topic under consideration, that a variety of practical perspectives were reported, that nonsense was kept out.

That has literally evaporated before our eyes, and we are left with Beck’s smug face on Fox News, pleased at having accomplished some sensational bias that will translate into rating.

Without a liberal media, what’s a liberal class to do?

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